Setting the scene: Why Lady Jemima and Lady Alice Herbert are society’s most savvy hostesses
After months deprived of our glittering social lives, the easing of lockdown ushers in the glorious return of the dinner party. In Tatler’s spectacular June issue, Associate Editor Sacha Forbes heads to the glorious Wilton House in
Wiltshire, family seat of Lady Jemima Herbert, 31, and her sister Lady Alice, 29.
Growing up at Wilton, the Pembroke family seat for over 450 years, the sisters learnt a thing or two about entertaining. The Palladian jewel has played host to renowned figures such as Cecil Beaton and, more recently, stars such as Keira Knightley, during filming at the stately home. Lady Jemima and Lady Alice’s father, Henry, the 17th Earl of Pembroke, was a film director and producer, and Wilton is a highly-coveted location (spot its historic Double Cube Room in the likes of Bridgerton and The Crown). ‘Our father loved it when they were filming at Wilton,’ remembers Alice. ‘They shot Sense and Sensibility there with Kate Winslet and Emma Thompson.’
The house has also played host to many family gatherings and birthday parties with friends, joyous occasions that fostered a love of hosting in the sisters. Now both living in London – Jemima in West Kensington with her fiancé, Hugo Davies, and Alice in Chelsea – the pair were inspired to launch Lay London, a table-laying service offering elegant ready-to-rent dinnerware and decorations.
With ‘tablescapes’ having become the Instagram fodder du jour, we can all expect a surge in interest in exquisitely decorated dining scenes as we emerge from lockdown; be it at large-scale events, or intimate dinner parties with a few select friends. In fact, having started their business just before the pandemic, Jemima and Alice stress that no affair is too small. ‘We had a busy Valentine’s Day,’ says Jemima. ‘We were hand-delivering special place settings for two all around London.’
If anything, the unusual circumstances of the pandemic offered the sisters the chance to hone their skills and display their creativity in unlikely ways. Last summer, they received a request from a client whose Greek holiday had been cancelled, asking Jemima and Alice to deliver a Mykonos-themed table setting to the terrace of his Mayfair home.
Lay London is already becoming a favourite with a host of glamorous society names, from the Herbert sisters’ close friend, Lady Kitty Spencer, to Irene Forte, and Love Island alumnus Zara McDermott. As the business goes from strength to strength, Jemima and Alice are soon set to launch an online shop in addition to the rental service, with Alice noting: ‘Friends and clients kept asking us if they could buy items to keep.’ A destination where the sisters will be sharing a carefully curated selection of tableware and decorations, as special and stylish as those in their rental kits, the Lay Shop will go live on laylondon.com next week.
The sisters are also anticipating an exciting time for Lay London as lockdown restrictions lift, not to mention a busy summer of their own events. Jemima and Hugo are set to marry at Wilton House in August, following two previous cancellations on account of the pandemic. The couple are planning quite the celebration – complete with Lay table-settings, of course. Alice, meanwhile, will ‘probably be laying the tables,’ she laughs.
For more information, visit laylondon.com, and read the full article in Tatler’s June issue, on sale now
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Published at Sat, 01 May 2021 08:03:29 +0000
Article source: https://www.tatler.com/article/lady-jemima-and-lady-alice-herbert-lay-london-interview-wilton-house